To celebrate Brighton & Hove Albion’s promotion to the UEFA Europa League, Brilliant Brighton streets have been decorated with blue and white bunting.
And on match days, iconic buildings, including the historic Royal Pavilion, will take on a blue and white glow to celebrate the home team’s success.
Bunting is now up across the city centre and Albion mascot Gully joined Council Leader Bella Sankey, Councillor Ty Goddard, and Lord Bassam to lend a hand.
Businesses and residents are also being encouraged to help ‘dress’ the city in a sea of blue and white to celebrate Brighton & Hove Albion’s UEFA Europa League debut.
The talented squad has qualified for the league for the first time in the club’s history, after finishing sixth in the premier league earlier this year.
It is hoped that enough businesses will come forward to create a trail around the city and provide opportunities for fans to enter competitions and win Albion merchandise.
Councillor Bella Sankey, Leader of the Council, said: “We are thrilled and incredibly proud that Brighton & Hove Albion has qualified for the UEFA Europa league for the very first time in the club’s 122-year history.
“To help us to celebrate this historic achievement, we’re dressing the city in blue and white and we’d love to see businesses and residents across the city get creative and dress their windows and public areas in blue and white too.
“It would be a wonderful way to show their support for our fantastic team. Up the Albion!”
Albion skipper Lewis Dunk said: “As someone born in the city and now captain of the club, I am extremely proud of our achievement of playing in Europe for the first time.
“It’s a brilliant opportunity to showcase the club and Brighton & Hove and I’m sure the city will be buzzing when we stage our home games. I can’t wait!”
Over the past few years, the Seagulls have soared to success. Following promotion to the Premier League in 2017, the team hit a coveted top 6 spot at the end of last season, securing their entry into European football.
As well as delighting fans, this success has given the city a huge economic boost, adding millions to the local economy, from creating jobs to supporting the city’s tourism and hospitality sector.
Councillor Ty Goddard, lead for economic development, said: “Europa League football represents a massive opportunity for both the club and city.
“A recent independent economic impact assessment, commissioned by Brighton & Hove Albion, reported that the club’s 2022/23 Premier League success contributed £595 million to the local economy.
“Competing in the UEFA Europa League could add a further £80 million next season.”
The report added that the Amex Stadium hosted more than 830 events in 2022/23 attracting 48,000 guests who contributed £3.5 million to other parts of the economy.
And last season, Albion games reached a televised audience of more than 83 million, including 75 million viewers from all over the world.
Councillor Goddard added: “A club saved by its fans, now gets to play on the European stage and we look forward to welcoming European teams and new fans to our city.
“We’re extremely excited about the opportunities which will undoubtedly open up for local businesses. There’s even a possibility that fans’ favourites Piglet Pies and Harvey’s Best will end up as global brands off the back of Albion’s success!’’ An online guide for visiting away fans has been launched by VisitBrighton, the city’s official tourism website, with details of how to get to the city and stadium, where to stay and how to enjoy everything Brighton & Hove has to offer.
Shelley Welti, Marketing and Events Manager for Brilliant Brighton, a collective of 517 city centre retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, said: “We’re so excited that our local team are in the UEFA Europa League, and look forward to welcoming all the opportunities this brings for our local businesses. We’re so pleased to have been able to kick start the celebrations by helping to turn the Brilliant Brighton area blue and white – good luck Seagulls!”
Group Stage Matches will take place on:
· 21 September 2023 – Albion vs AEK Athens
· 5 October 2023 – Marseille vs Albion
· 26 October 2023 – Albion vs AJAX
· 9 November 2023 – AJAX vs Albion
· 30 November 2023 – AEK Athens vs Albion
· 14 December 2023 – Albion vs Marseille